Support Grows For Air Passenger Rights

The airlines are losing  allies in the fight against passenger rights legislation. Could that be because they have a pattern of screwing up, promising to stop screwing up and then screwing up again?

Yes, I think that could be it. And so does Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, which just switched sides and now favors the legislation.

“Some of the largest corporations on the planet, for whom government involvement in free markets is anathema, overwhelmingly have concluded that legislation is the best choice after 10 years of shattered promises of self-policing by airlines,” he told USA Today. [It’s a good story but I don’t know why they used a stock photo of Southwest planes, among the least of the offenders.]

All we want is the right to get off the plane after three hours of captivity. The Air Transport Association continues to complain that it will complicate the business of lining planes up for takeoff and assigning gates, an argument that seemed to resonate, for a while, with business travelers. Mainly because those folks just want to get home.

But I guess the argument started to ring hollow. Maybe the business people started to think that it’s the system that needs to be adjusted. If the airlines and airports can’t line up planes and gates and still avoid holding people hostage, why don’t they  try harder? Why don’t they come up with a different way of assigning gates and takeoff slots?

The ATA says the airlines working on the problem. But it seems, as Chris Elliott reveals in his analysis of the latest Air Travel Consumer Report, they’re not working hard enough.


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